Tag Archives: review

Naturally Homemade: Grandma’s alum recipe instead of commercial deodorant

30 Mar

Pic via jasminechemical.com

When I was 17, my grandmother told me to stop using deodorants since they blocked the perspiration glands.  Deodorants are dangerous to our bodies… nature has always offered us ways to beautify and clean ourselves. Why not use alum (i.e Shabbeh – شبة) instead?

Alum is not short for aluminum. It’s a natural stone, that once crushed into tiny crystals can be your personal hygiene’s best friend.

Pic via ehow.com

Aluminum, on the other hand, is a harmful component that is used in many of the manufactured deodorants out there!

Grandma, may she rest in peace, told me that over time the blocked sweat caused by commercial deodorants will accumulate under the skin and rot, and I will start to really smell, which means I will need more deodorant to cover it up. Ultimately this blocked perspiration is a form of toxin that is locked within the body… it will harm it.

As a nature-lover, my grandma hated manufactured cosmetics, and always opted for natural remedies to fix everything. She had great insight and respect for the ways of her grandparents. She didn’t need a scientific report to tell if unnatural cosmetics were harmful or not, she knew it innately. And I believed her.

Pic via dipity.com

Alum talc-like deodorant

My grandmother’s basic alum recipe – You can use this recipe like you use talc:

  • Crush some alums until they become a bit rougher than talc (if they’re not already crushed) – about 7 tablespoons of it (or more if you like).
  • In my part of the world you can buy already crushed Musk powder, which is then added to the alum (let’s say about 1/2 a tablespoon), and it gives it a celestial smell. You can check out your area for any oriental shops & ask them if they have it.
  • Mix the two well. Place  the powder in a clean cosmetics container with a lid, and use a cotton pad, or one or those fluffy pads used for applying powder facial foundation.
  • After taking a shower, fluff your underarms and any perspiration-active areas with this mixture.
  • P.S. If you have been using artificial deodorants for a long time, be patient while the body cleans itself. At first you might think the Alum-Musk mixture is not working out because you are basically smelling, but that’s because all the blocked perspiration is now to free to leave your body. These toxins have a bad smell, but after a while when the new perspiration is now dancing with the alum you will smell fresh and quite different than before.

Alum sprayer

Pic via realsimple.com

My grandma’s great grandmothers, back to God-knows-when, used alum and they always smelled superb. In fact if you have a sensitive nose you can always tell the difference between a modern home, around the Levant where I live, and a traditional home that uses natural soaps, alum, rosewater, and all the natural scents & cleaning materials that really make everything smell better.

Another simple alum recipe is making your own alum spray:

  • Crush the alum crystals
  • Mix them with water in a bottle sprayer
  • Spray your underarms, feet, and any sweat-active areas, right after you shower.

Alum with essential oils

You can always experiment with creating your own scented alum powder. If you have a good quality rose/musk/jasmine essential oil, you can:

Pic via ashitherapy.com

  • Crush the alum…
  • add a few drops of essential oil to the alum crystals and mix well
  • use like you use talc.
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An Artisan’s Tipping Point: The Critical Mass of Crafting

26 Mar

Thoughts By Karboojeh Handmade

Today I entered my craft room and made something I didn’t know I was able to make. It was my first draft, but it looked like I knew what I was doing. I finished the project at hand & it looked too good to be true! That’s when I knew I reached the tipping point of my skill as an artisan.

The Tipping Point - via widro.com

Have you read the book? The Tipping Point (by Malcolm Gladwell)? Well, you should. This book is probably the most cross-cutting, cross-sectoral book you could ever come across. It suits everyone: cooks, artisans, managers, high-up executives, students, mothers, crafters, teachers, pilots… everybody!

I watched the Tipping Point law work for me when I was a musician, and now that I am crafting, I am seeing it happen all over again.

What the tipping point is all about boils down to one thing: When you build up a skill, a project, a campaign, a life together, etc… it starts at the bottom of the hill, and as you go up it becomes harder, and it gets too tiring as you push up your know-how: you read, learn, attend seminars, learn, err. It’s like pushing a huge mass up the mountain… until you reach critical mass; the mass enough to bring your up-hill snowball rolling back down, easily and smoothly. That’s the Tipping Point… when it basically tips.

The darkest hour comes right before the dawn

let’s linger a bit here and talk about what happens before it tips, before the ball starts rolling when you reach critical mass and become a pro. You basically have the hardest time of all times; you put all your frustrations & energy into what you are doing but you feel insufficient – not there yet. And you feel a bit lost, and aimless – “where am I going with this, I don’t see results?” You feel like you’re reading all of these tutorials (books, papers, etc), and you are completely lost as to where to go from here. As an artisan, you spend hours on Pinterest, pinning things that are relevant to you, to your dream project, but you don’t know when you will be the DIYer you want to be!

And then one day you walk into your craft room (office, kitchen, classroom, etc), and you just do things like a pro. “Where did this come from,” you ask. “Last week I sucked at this, now I’m putting this beautiful thing together… effortlessly?

Yep… that’s the tipping point.

In spirituality, there’s a metaphor that is based on the fact that the darkest hour at night comes right before the first streak of dawn; just right before the sky cracks open with a slight, thin thread of light. That’s the most difficult hour for us as people journeying through life. Right before any dawn on any level: work, love, spiritual growth, psychological maturity… there comes the darkest hour.

But after that very dark place comes the tipping point, the dawn.

P.S. If you’re in a place of uncertainty right now, brace yourself, be patient… the tipping point might be just around the corner.

 

 

Inspiration Board: Recycling, upcycling vintage books

14 Mar

I just found this Etsy shop called Carambatack Design with original illustrations, prints, postcards, stickers and more – by Norwegian artist, Annette Mangseth. Instead of cardboard, or plain old primed canvas, the artist is using a different medium as her drawing board: Vintage paper.

The artist draws her illustrations on vintage paper from old books that carry some really cool fonts, such as the one above. The illustrations are dreamy, simple, and quite inspiring.

Although Mangseth draws faces of little girls besides the Scandinavian nature motifs, I find myself drawn to the trees, leaves, and deers, more than anything.

I love these post card trees, below; very dreamy. The worn-out, yellowed color of the pages adds to the whole upcycled/recycled vintage look and makes the designs look a bit Shabby Chic.

I have been integrating pages from old books in some of my crafts lately, a step that I have been contemplating for such a long time. It does look easy at first instance, but I think you need to develop a ‘vision’ for what exactly you want these pages to do for your over-all design. The type of color you use with the vintage pages is also crucial to the end product. Last year I tried watery-water color with yellowed book paper, but the final product looked like it missed something.

The designs that are offered by Annette Mangseth, on the other hand, look very “together,” and her designs transmit a clear message, a very strong feeling... that’s why I think she is an artist to learn from!

Thank you for the inspiration, Mangseth!

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Related Articles

{Interview} | BOOST your handmade business with Hmade

29 Feb

Vintage jewllery and pretty hair clips from Charming Grace soon to be on Hmade

There are blogs that you keep going back to, like Hmade. Loaded with lots of inspiration, affordable online packages, and advice to help you market your handmade stuff, Hmade is one of Britain’s most interesting blogs.

At least that’s what I think!

Around the time Hmade interviewed Karboojeh Handmade Jewelry a while back, I wanted to interview Kellie, Hmade’s creator, to learn more about why she started her blog, her future plans, and most importantly her handmade marketing program, “BOOST” – designed to help you market your stuff over at Hmade. Artisans, designer-makers, cooks, and crafters, can visit the blog for very reasonable packages to help you with your online marketing experience.

Interview with Kellie, creator of Hmade – People who make, bake & create

Have you seen the new look at Calladoodles? (via Hmade)

  • When did you start Hmade? What inspired you to start a blog/shop that helps promote indie designer-makers?

I started Hmade in May 2011 when i met Clare from Calladoodles. It all began when I noticed Clare’s pretty shop and i fancied having a go at some product and interior photography. So I sent her an email asking her if she would like some photos in return for me practicing in her shop, and she loved the idea. Clare ran part of the shop by renting space out to designer-makers, and nearly every week there was someone or something new happening. I assumed she had a blog and was telling everyone about it all on Facebook but she was just too busy, and that’s where the idea for Hmade came about. We needed a way to tell people about the wonderful designers and their products who were selling in the shop, and what better way than a blog with lots of pictures.

Hmade began with lots of inspirational posts to get a good following and then we interviewed the sellers about themselves and their businesses. We had a really good response to it with viewing numbers being more than we expected. As Clare was busy with the shop i took this on myself and built it up to what it is today with the design, features, and new features to come.

  • What do you hope to achieve through your blog?

The idea behind it is to promote designer-makers and provide information and inspiration. I love blogs which are pretty and full of images, which is how i wanted mine to be. Not everyone wants to read something everyday so to have posts with just images can make things a bit refreshing!

I have a small shopping side to the blog but this will be phased out soon as i felt that it wasn’t quite what i want to achieve with the blog. I want it to be more of a promotional, informational blog rather than a shop. My ‘thing’ is photography so i will be offering more advice and services on that side as well as business advice and ideas.
The original sellers in the shop were the designers from Calladoodles which made things easy for me to take photos of the products and then send out when a sale was made. We may revive it when the time is right.

  • What are your future plans?
 My plans for Hmade are to become a source of information and to have other guest bloggers sharing their own knowledge with everyone. I also want to help people to get their products noticed by getting their images into the press and provide features about them and their products on the blog. It is all about support and promotion. It seems the designer makers are great at what they do but they don’t have enough time for some of the business tasks, which is where we can help.
  • Tell us about BOOST?
We have just rolled out BOOST which is a promotional package and we will be announcing a new photo appraisal service very soon, so keep an eye out for that one :)
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To learn more about BOOST’s latest offers, go here.
To contact Hmade, go here.
To visit Hmade’s Facebook page, click here.
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Interview by Karboojeh Handmade Jewelry
Video

Most Craved for Craft Product of the Year: The Martha Stewart Craft Paint line

25 Feb

For a DIY person, nothing comes close to learning about Martha Stewart’s semi-new Craft Paint line – that she launched mid last year. I learned about it via Tatertots & Jello, a cool blog with lots of ideas.

If you live in a village, an island, or in certain parts of the Levant, then you must know the feeling of not being able to get your hands on products that can really make your life all that much easier, as an artisan.

Martha Stewart Craft Paint line (Via Tatertots & Jello)

I spend a lot of time looking in nooks and crannies, super stores, and small shops for alternatives for all of the cool products “out there.” I have always craved products “out of reach,” like Modge Podge. But this one happens to be “THE” one product that the Levant needs to start importing! (Hello merchants, are you hearing me?)

I would like to  – very gladly – announce the Martha Stewart Craft Paint line as my Most Craved for Craft Product of the Year. I can easily state that this versatile, multi-surface, paint line is the dream of every crafter (at least this one here). It breaks my heart that they don’t sell it over here.

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